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How to host pet-friendly New Years’ parties

Christmas has been and gone, and in the blink of an eye, the focus shifts to New Year celebrations. If you’re planning on hosting a New Year party you may be wondering what to do with your pets. 

Cats and dogs are not the only ones that can be affected by stress. Rabbits, Guinea pigs, birds and ferrets can all become stressed due to loud noises, bright lights and large numbers of people. So, let’s look at how we can minimise the stress on our pets whilst still welcoming in the New Year singing Auld Lang Syne, pretending to know all the words! 

Consider shutting them away

Perhaps one of the easiest ways to help keep your pets calm during a New Years party is to simply keep them confined to one room. This can be applied to any pet you have and is not just limited to cats and dogs. 

Make them a safe space with their favourite bed, fresh water and food. It may be useful to play ambient music to help to drown out cheers, laughter and other New Year shenanigans. Radio stations such as Classic FM usually offer a special feature to help soothe stressed animals. Otherwise, there are plenty of playlists on websites such as YouTube that will have calming playlists for animals. 

Avoid animal alcohol consumption

Whether you’re having a cosy night with friends or a bit of a kitchen rave, chances are there might be a few alcoholic beverages or two. Keep in mind that alcohol can be toxic to animals, both in small and large quantities. Ensure that your party guests understand this and make sure that spillages are cleaned up swiftly. 

Don’t leave cups and glasses containing alcohol unattended. My cats love nothing more than drinking out of my freshly topped up glass of water; however, they may consume alcohol by mistake. If you think your pet may have consumed alcohol, speak with a veterinary surgeon immediately. 

Watch out for electrical wires

There may still be Christmas paraphernalia throughout your home or you may have decided to have extension leads for stereos and speakers. Make sure that wires are not left dangling for cats to swipe at and that they are not in a place where dogs or puppies can have a good chew. 

If you have small mammals such as rats, mice and hamsters, avoid placing wires around the cage as they are more than likely to try and turn them into part of their bedding!

Keep the noise down

Noise can be one of the main contributors to stress in animals. I’ve been to my fair share of parties and I know that it’s easy to get carried away and not be aware of the noise you’re making, whether it’s from music, games or voices. Without being a party pooper, it may be a good idea to lower the music level every so often as well as keeping an eye on noise levels in different rooms. 

If you have decided to shut your animals away, it may be a good idea to place people and music in a room as far away from your animals as possible to help filter the noise out. 

Offer plenty of hiding spaces

No matter what animals you keep as pets, they will always find comfort in having a place to hide. Something as simple as a box with a hole cut out allows them to get inside. This can make them feel safe and secure.

For pets such as rats, mice, chinchilla’s, hamsters and gerbils, add extra bedding for burrowing; and extra places for them to curl up and hide. They will really appreciate it.

For all animals, it may be beneficial to introduce hides well before your New Years party so that they are already aware of a safe space to curl up and chill when they need to.

Keep all animals away from food

I know where I’m heading when I get to a party – the buffet table! As soon as animals smell food, they are most likely to have the same train of thought and make their way over to see what they can eat. (We’re looking at you Labradors!).

Keep in mind that many foods are toxic to cats and dogs including grapes, raisins, chocolate, onions and garlic. Pets such as hamsters and mice can also be sensitive to chocolate and red meats as well as foods high in sugars and salts.

Birds such as Parrots can not ingest food such as avocado, meat or dairy products as these can be toxic and detrimental to their health. 

Ensure that all of your guests understand that feeding your pets is completely off limits as it may do more harm than good. Keep animals out of rooms where food is being consumed.

Have fun, but be mindful

Without sounding like your mother, have fun but stay mindful. Ensure that your pets are shut away and looked after before inviting people into your home. If you are concerned about your pet on New Years, make sure you know your veterinary practices out of hours policy.

If you don’t have any pets, be aware that houses around you may have pets that could become stressed from your New Years party. Loud music, fireworks and crowds of people can all induce stress in animals. Make sure that you are responsible for your actions and be considerate. Most of all, have a fun, safe and enjoyable New Year celebration!

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